It’s been a little while since we checked in on the federal lawsuit facing the Humane Society of the United States. No, not the racketeering lawsuit accusing HSUS of illegal witness payments—HSUS settled that one with its co-defendants for almost $16 million last month. We’re referring to another lawsuit, this one filed by Daniel Christensen, a hunting dog breeder in South Dakota whom HSUS “raided” in 2009.
In that case, HSUS assisted in the seizure of dogs from Christensen’s property. KELO TV reported at the time of the seizure that “Many of their [the dogs’] new handlers are from the Humane Society of the United States.” Scotlund Haisley, then the head of HSUS’s “rescue” team, told the media that “Under the request of the local authorities, we will now continue to provide care and medical treatment for these animals awaiting the judicial system.”
The judicial system spoke—and it threw out the warrant that HSUS used to seize the dogs (which was obtained by a local animal control officer). Christensen then sued Haisley, HSUS, and others for allegedly violating his rights.
In one legal reply, HSUS now claims that it never had anything to do with caring for the dogs. “Plaintiff admits that HSUS had no role in the care or placement of the dogs after they were delivered to the Turner County Fairgrounds…HSUS’s role was limited to the seizure and transport of the dogs… There is no evidence that HSUS had any control over what was done with the dogs after the seizure,” HSUS notes in the filing (PACER account required).
That’s nice—but it’s too bad the media and the public didn’t get that from the bragging conducted by HSUS and Scotlund Haisley, who was saying the opposite. It’s also too bad for the dogs. Some dogs got sick while in the “care” of others after the raid, and 28 animals ultimately died.
Whether or not HSUS is held legally liable for what happened, this should cast a doubt upon any future HSUS “rescue” operation. How many times has HSUS claimed to “rescue” animals when it hasn’t provided any meaningful long-term care at all? The answer may be more times than even a cynic would figure.